You have questions, so here are some answers about how you can use the library during our public closure due to the COVID-19 crisis, as well as our plans to begin offering more services, like our new Curbside Pickup service, which launches on June 1.
Based on the latest information and updates from state and local officials about the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus), as well as the City of Des Moines’ declaration of a state of emergency in March, Des Moines Public Library administration made the decision that closing our six buildings was in the best interest of public safety.
HOW MUCH LONGER WILL THE LIBRARY BE CLOSED?
Library administration will work with city and county officials and the Library Board of Trustees to reassess the situation and determine when it is best to reopen safely. As of this time, all in-person library programs and activities are canceled until further notice. All Des Moines city facilities are closed through mid-June at the earliest.
Library administration is working hard behind the scenes with city, county, and state officials, as well as the DMPL Board of Trustees, to determine how and when to safely offer more services moving forward. Reopening the library will be a deliberate, step-by-step process. Safety is our top priority.
The first phase of this process begins with the reopening of our book returns and the start of our new Curbside Pickup service.
CAN I PLACE A HOLD ON NEW MATERIALS?
Yes! Library cardholders can now place new holds on materials using our online catalog on our website, or by calling us at (515) 283-4152. Patrons will be notified when their items are ready to be picked up, beginning Monday, June 1, using our new Curbside Pickup service.
HOW DOES CURBSIDE WORK?
Check out our Curbside Pickup FAQ page for all the answers to all of your questions.
WHAT ABOUT ITEMS I HAD ON HOLD BEFORE THE LIBRARY CLOSED?
Those who did not pick up existing holds prior to our March closing were asked to pick up those items at the Central Library pickup window (1000 Grand Ave.) between 9 AM-5 PM Monday, May 18 through Friday, May 22. Items that were not picked up by end of day May 22 were returned to the shelves and those patrons lost their place in line for those materials.
MY ACCOUNT SAYS I HAVE A HOLD BUT IT IS NOT AVAILABLE FOR PICKUP. WHAT DO I DO?
Please do not arrive at the library for your materials using curbside pickup until we have contacted you to let you know they are ready. Until you receive a notification from the library, your holds are NOT going to be ready for pickup and we will not be able to help you.
WHAT ABOUT BOOKS I HAVE THAT ARE DUE?
Due dates for materials that are due March 16 and beyond are extended until we reopen. If an item was due before March 16, we will not extend due dates, but those materials will NOT accrue any additional fines until after we reopen. You can still pay current fines online.
SHOULD I BRING MY BOOKS AND DVDS BACK TO THE LIBRARY?
As of Tuesday, May 26, all book drops at all library buildings are now open, so you can return those books, DVDs, CDs, and more that you've been keeping in your homes. You can NOT return books to staff during curbside pickup. All materials must be returned using only the book drops at each of our buildings.
We are also asking that you do not place any donated items into our book returns. We are unable to accept donations of books, DVDs, and other materials at this time.
WHAT ABOUT FINES AND FEES?
All late fees on new materials that will be checked out have been suspended until library buildings reopen to the public. Late fees are also suspended on materials originally due back during the library’s closure. In addition, the $1 checkout fee for DVDs are also temporarily waived until we fully reopen our buildings.
If you currently have fines and fees on your account that prevent you from checking out materials, those will need to be paid before using our curbside service. Please call us at (515) 283-4152 if you have questions about your account.
WHAT IS THE LIBRARY DOING TO ENSURE BOOKS ARE SAFE TO BE CHECKED OUT?
All returned library materials will be quarantined for three business days, then cleaned with disinfectant wipes, before returning to library shelves or being checked out to the next patron.
CAN I CALL THE LIBRARY TO GET MY QUESTIONS ANSWERED?
Beginning Tuesday, May 26, the telephone help line will once again be available for patrons. Library staff will be able to answer your questions on weekdays beginning May 26 from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
If you have a question, you can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or use the contact form online HERE. Staff is answering public questions via email and online form from 8:00 AM-5:00 PM Monday through Friday.
CAN I STILL USE THE LIBRARY'S PUBLIC WIFI?
We know our public WiFi is important to many of our patrons, and while you cannot enter our buildings at this time, the WiFi is still turned on, and if you're willing to park outside or nearby to access it to get some work done, we encourage you to do so.
WHAT IF MY LIBRARY CARD IS SET TO EXPIRE WHILE YOU ARE CLOSED?
All cards with expiration dates beginning March 1, 2020 will now be set to expire on June 30, 2020.
CAN I SIGN UP FOR A LIBRARY CARD DIGITALLY?
Yes! Due to the Des Moines Public Library being closed to the public, we are now offering people the opportunity to sign up for a digital library card. (NOTE: Cardholders must be a resident of Des Moines or rural Polk County to access some digital resources, including streaming video and downloadable eBooks and eAudiobooks.)
Sign up HERE.
WHERE CAN I FIND UPDATES ON THIS SITUATION FROM THE LIBRARY?
The latest updates can always be found here on our FAQ page. You can also get the latest information by following us on our social media pages – Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. And we will be emailing cardholders when we have major updates to share.